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Schmidt & Bender 1.5-6×42 Zenith Flashdot #9 Review

Testing the Schmidt & Bender 1.5-6×42 Zenith Flashdot #9.  I will be honest here. This Schmidt & Bender is a scope I have been lusting after for several years for my 6.8 and was elated to get one in for testing.

I feel that the power range is about ideal for the 6.8 SPC with ranges typically between 50 and 300 yards.

My needs are low power for stalk hunting and being fast on a moving target like a wild hog as well as being able to clearly discern a set of antlers on a potential trophy buck at 300 yards at last light.

Oh, and I also want to be able to use it for night hunting hogs.

Perhaps a set of conflicting needs?


Specs:

Magnification Range: 1.5-6

Length: 12.2″

Weight: 21 oz

Tube diameter: 30mm

Objective Diameter: 42mm

Focal Plane: First

lluminated reticle settings: 11 with an “off” between each setting. It can go from daytime bright down barely visible at night (perfect)

Reticle Design: Etched German #4 with a circle that intersects where the heavy stradia lines meet.

General Impressions:

The scope exudes a high end vibe..

You can tell from the second you handle it and even more so as you start inspecting it. The attention to every little detail, the engineering, manufacturing and craftsmenship are very obvious.

S&Bs are known for their phenomanal glass and being extremely tough.

The fact that the US Marine Corps use them for their snipers is a pretty compelling statement in and of itself.

It is a matter of fact that when any company manufactures a product there is a conflict between quaility and cost of manufacturing.If you want the absolute best you need to hire top tier engineers, give them plenty of R&D money to come up with the best designs. In order to be able to produce such products you have to invest in the best materials and manufacturing equipment.

In short.. you get what you pay for.

Or, perhaps a better way to say it, is if you want the best, it’s going to cost you.

Testing:

All testing done with a Wilson Combat 18″ Recon in 6.8 SPC, an exceptional weapon.

Mount used was an American Defense Scout, it should be pointed out the mount returns to zero when removed and put back on the gun.In fact, twice I have removed mount from the gun, and the scope from the mount and put it all back together…That’s very impressive to be able to completely remove the rings and put it all back together and still RTZ! That means very tight manufacturing tolerances for American Defense.

Optical perfection?

The scope, as expected has ultra bright and clear glass with exeptional resolution and contrast. It exhibited no distortion all the way out to the edges of the scope. It’s sort of uncanny looking through an S&B… I am used to nice scopes, but the S&B just is flat out amazing… Every person that looked through the scope uttered something along the lines of “oh, wow…”

Up close and personal:

At 1.5x, it’s provides a huge field of view and is very fast on a target. In fact, and especially with the illuminated red dot, it’s almost as fast as an Aimpoint or Eotech past say 10 yards. There is much interest in a “true 1x” in the tactical communinity but personally, I feel for a hunting scope that 1.5x at the bottom is sufficiently fast at the close ranges encountered when hunting.

I shoot all guns with both eyes open and find I can get on the target fast and follow moving targets very well with it. The dot is “day time bright” and can be seen during the brightest of days.

I took this wild boar on the run at about 30 yards.


Longer range:

At 6x on the top end, it yields far more detail of the target than one would expect from a 6 power scope. It goes to show that a lot of people go for more and more magnification in order to “see better” when in reality, they need better glass. Shooting a 6×6″ headshot on a Larue resetting steel target at 250 yards at dusk is very, very easy to do and in no way did I feel a need for more glass. At 500 yards hitting a 12″ plate was very easy to do as well. In fact, even at 750 yards, a 12″ plate is cleary visible due the amazing quality of glass and the coatings that are used.

Being able to see a deer clearly in the grass into low light to the point where they disapear to the naked eye but are clearly visible through the S&B.

The Reticle:

The Flashdot #9 is sort of a cross between a German # 4 and an Eotech. The scope has a standard thin reticle in the center section with the illumination off. When turned on, it projects a small, perfectly defined red dot at the crosshair intersection. This is revolutionary, because during the day when shooting at distances, you have a standard thin crosshair intersection which allows you to shoot very tight groups. When darkness starts to fall and you start to lose the reticle, turning on the illumination just projects a small red dot at the crosshair intersection. So many scopes have a black dot, say 1 MOA in the center that becomes lit up. That’s fine at 100 yards but that dot becomes 3? at 300, fine I guess for quick COM shots, but takes away the real precision of a good gun.\

There are 11 settings of illumination, both day and night time optimized settings.

There is an off position between each setting and it turns itself off after 6 hours, additionally, there is a spare battery in one of turret caps.. nice touches

My experience with most scopes that anything more than a small, dimly lit dot is too much for actual hunting in true low light (think deer at the last moments of legal hunting where you might not even be able to see them without a great scope)

For hog hunting at night by moonlight, an activity that’s legal in Texas and very popular in Germany where S&Bs are designed, tested and manufactured. No wonder they got the night time illumination right! Way too many scopes are too bright even at the lowest setting and cause your iris to contract effectively killing your ability to see in very low light or darkness.

In short, I have tried a LOT of different scopes over the years and feel that for this application, which covers about 99% of my hunting needs this scope is about as close to perfect as you can get.

So many products seem to do one thing right but fail elsewhere.

It’s a challenge both from a design and manufacturing standpoint to get it ALL right, especially when trying to hit a price point.

S&B clearly has done their homework and provided an absolute state of the art riflescope.

Is it expensive? yes

Is it worth the asking price? Well, frankly, only YOU can determine that.

But, if you want the best riflescope you can get, with zero compromises and are willing to pay for that level of perfection, then I can say without reservation that yes, it is absolutely worth every penny.

I have tested this scope in both hunting conditions and at the range, from 10 yards out to 500. It flat out works.

I got to test it recently on a hunt and use in very, very low light

I have taken hogs well past legal deer hunting time at close to 300 yards on a dark moonless night.

I shot a boar on the run while out stalk hunting with it at 1.5x and the dot on, it worked out perfectly, well, not for the hog..

A Wilson Combat 6.8 AR, topped with a S&B scope and launching Barnes bullets is bad pig medicine!

http://www.schmidtbender.com/scopes_zenith.shtml

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ccoker

Founding staff member, avid shooter, hunter, reloader and all around gun geek with an obsession for perfection
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2 Responses to Schmidt & Bender 1.5-6×42 Zenith Flashdot #9 Review

  1. Cary Kieffer says:

    Hey Charles, as you know probably its been 5 years since I turned in my sniper rifle but we had 10x Leupolds on ours. I talked to an old buddy awhile back and he said his F.A.S.T. Team had started using a new 6x on M-14’s and were training to be “surgical” with them out to 300 yards for hostage stuff, nuke security and roles like that outside of the traditional Scout/Sniper role. I’ll bet this is the one he was talking about. He was pretty thrilled with it. Nice write up.

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